Best Places to See Cherry Blossom in Japan

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Japan, the 'Land of the Rising Sun' is a blend of ancient traditions and the modernity of life. A place which is known for its timeless culture and the smartest of the people is also the place with magical cherry blossom trees. Hanami or viewing cherry blossom trees is one of the most popular traditions in Japan and if you have not yet seen the cherry blossom trees in Japan blooming in their fullest then you are definitely missing out big time! To make your flower viewing experience easy, we have compiled a list of best places to see cherry blossom in Japan for a fairytale experience.

And as a huge number of people turn out to see the cherry blossoms, make sure you head to the spot early and do spread your picnic sheets like a boss.

1. Tokyo

Best time to visit: March - April

Starting the list of best cherry blossom places to see in Japan is the capital city of Tokyo. Adorned with neon-filled skyscrapers, the city is constantly buzzing with activity and owing to the number of interesting things to do in Tokyo it is one of the most favored cities by the tourists. With gracefully planted cherry blossom trees decorating the city, Tokyo is one the best cities to visit in Japan to see Cherry Blossom trees.

  • Ueno Park

places to visit in Japan to see Cherry Blossom treesPC:Usodesita/flickr.com

Set next to the Ueno Station in the central Tokyo, Ueno Park is one of the easily accessible parks in Japan. Highlighting the grounds of the park is over 8,800 different varieties of trees including a plenty of cherry blossom trees that come to life in the time of late March to Mid April. Attracting over ten million visitors a year, most of who visit the park during the time of the Spring to catch sight of the cherry blossom trees, Ueno Park is definitely a popular park in Japan.

Ueno Park is also home to plenty of other attractions that include Ueno Zoo, Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature & Science, Shinobazu Pond, Kaneiji Temple, and several others.

  • Shinjuku Gyoen

PC: Torne/flickr.com

Considered as one of the largest parks in Japan, Shinjuku Gyoen is a national park in Tokyo featuring manicured shrubs & trees, expansive ponds, and a sprawling ground to roam free. Designed in three distinctive styles: French, English, and Japanese, Shinjuku Gyoen offers a combinational experience to its visitors and during the time of the Spring, Shinjuku Gyoen becomes extra special with its beautiful cherry trees that stand over 1,500 in number.

With zigzag walking trails and a tranquil setting, Shinjuku Gyoen is an ideal place to unwind. Remember the park is normally crowded and if you can't stand crowds, this is not for you.

2. Aomori

Best time to visit: April & May

Famous for its spectacular summer festival of Nebuta Matsuri, the naturally gorgeous destination of Aomori surrounded by the sea on three sides is a wonderful place to visit for nature lovers and enthusiasts. When the season of hanami arrives, Aomori should never be missed and the following are the spots you should head to in Aomori for cherry blossom trees.

  • Hirosaki Castle Park

PC:Kzaral/flickr.com

Rated by the visitors as one of their favorite cherry blossom spots in Japan, Hirosaki Castle Park is beautifully perfect. Perched on the park grounds is the impressive Hirosaki Castle standing long after all these years. Closely competed by over 2,600 cherry blossom trees of 50 different varieties including the 134-year-old Yoshino Cherry tree, the place is an explosion of wonderment. With the historic Hirosaki Castle on offer and the backdrop of the towering mountains, Hirosaki Castle Park is a splendid place to be in, especially during the season of Spring.

Hirosaki Castle Park is famous for Hirosaki cherry blossom festival that is held every year during late April to early May. Missing out on the festival would mean missing out on a dreamy experience.

  • Ashino Park

PC: Akinori YAMADA/flickr.com

Ashino Park is a natural park in Aomori that is complete with a lake, bridges, and a camping site making up for an amazing spot to spend a picnic. Populated by over 2,300 Japanese cherry blossom trees, Ashino Park is one of the liveliest places to be in to witness cherry trees and the best way to reach the park is by a train which runs through Ashino Park. For a memorable experience, paddle in the Lake Ashino of the park and be awestruck at the sight of the colorful cherry blossoms dropping down from the tree branches.

Celebrated in Ashino Park during the end of April is the Kanagi Cherry Blossom Festival which is one of the top cherry blossom festivals in Japan.

3. Okinawa

Best time to visit: January & February

Located in Japan's southernmost prefecture is the island of Okinawa with its colorful coral reefs. Experiencing the earliest of cherry tree blossoms of the year right after the New Year, Okinawa is an excellent destination to get in touch with breathtaking sakura. And when you are in Okinawa do make sure to catch the cherry blossom festivals.

  • Mount Yaedake

PC: troy_williams/flickr.com

Mount Yaedake is a wonderful hiking destination in Okinawa and if you are a hiker who also loves to be in the company of cherry blossom trees, then Mount Yaedake would come in as a treat to you. Climb up on the Mount Yaedeke with your eyes fixated on the charming cherry blossoms and the breathtaking vistas on offer. Painted in pink and green, Mount Yaedake is a colorful escapade that offers a refreshing experience for your senses.

Starting early in the year is the Motobu Yaedake Sakura Festival that sets the tone for the cherry blossom festivals in Japan. What a wonderful way to begin the New Year with!

  • Nakijin Castle Ruins

PC: Nelo Hotsuma/flickr.com

Want to thoroughly explore a UNESCO world heritage site at the same time immerse yourself in the serenity of the cherry blossoms, head to Nakijin Castle ruins. Etched with a great history, the lush grounds of the Nakijin Castle is decorated with bright cherry blossoms during the time of Mid-January to February and can be ideally explored by taking a hike along the ruins, on the stone pathway.

Nakijin Castle ruins is for those seeking a unique adventurous atmosphere from the cliched parks and the bustle of the city. Nakijin Castle celebrates the cherry blossom festival at the time of January.

4. Kyoto

Best time to visit: March and April

Characterized by quaint gardens, tranquil temples, historically significant structures, and colorful shrines is the major city of Kyoto that is over a thousand years old. Highlighted by its unique landscape of brightly colored leaves, Kyoto is a seasonal beauty that finds its rhythm during the time of Spring.

  • Philosopher’s Path

PC: Pablo Padierna/flickr.com

What is a better way to enjoy the picturesque looking cherry blossom trees than by taking a leisurely walk, along the eye-catchy flowers? Enter Philosopher's path. Philosopher's Path is a pedestrian walk that runs alongside a canal dotted with cherry trees. Approximately running for a length of 2 kilometers, Philosophers is also highlighted by various other attractions and food places from where you can make a quick stop and continue walking along the canal filled with pink flower petals.

Crowded with a huge number of locals and nature lovers, Philosopher's Path is an impressively popular destination to see cherry blossom in Japan.

  • Kyoto Botanical Garden

PC: Kimon Berlin/flickr.com

Covered in tropical plants and a green terrain, Kyoto Botanical Garden is a major botanical garden in Kyoto that is in its prime during the time of Spring. Take a trip to the Kyoto Botanical Garden and immerse in the mesmerizing view of the soothing cherry blossom trees along with the contrasting colors of the tropical plants. Decorated in weeping cherry trees, Kyoto Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to take endless photographs and make your friends jealous.

The major highlights of the Kyoto Botanical Garden include Sunken garden, Watermill, and Conservatory. Kyoto Botanical Garden also notably has 120,000 species of plants.

5. Hokkaido

Best time to visit: April and May

Marked with its unspoiled nature and an array of activities to choose from, Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan and an enticing hanami destinations in Japan. Gifted with plenty of attractive spots to indulge in cherry blossom viewing, Hokkaido is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit in Japan to see cherry tree blossom. When the season of Spring hits Hokkaido, even the roadsides transform itself into a wonderland.

  • Matsumae Park

Part of Japan's top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots, Matsumae Park in Matsumae town with its abundance of Sakura trees is one of the favorite cherry blossom spots frequented by the locals of Japanese. Bask in the presence of over 10,000 cherry blossom tree of 250 different varieties sprawling the park. When you have had full of the Japanese cherry blossom trees, explore the other popular spots around the park that include Matsumae Castle, Matsumae Shrine, Kozenji Temple, Sakura Museum, and Ryuunin Temple.

A popular pastime inside the Matsumae Park would be to try differentiating one variety of cherry blossom from the other and the park is famous for the festival of Matsumae Sakura Matsuri held during late April - early May.

  • Fort Goryokaku

PC: Yuki Shimazu/flickr.com

Shaped like a five-pointed star, Fort Goryokaku is a spectacular fort cum public park in Hokkaido designed by a French architect and built in the last years of the Edo Period. Exploring the Fort Goryokaku gives you a historically special experience topped with the captivating beauty of the cherry blossom trees. Declared as a special historical site, the grounds of the Fort Goryokaku will be buzzing with people during the spring time. Go on a boat ride exploring the grounds of the fort and enjoy the pristine nature of over 1600 cherry trees populating the fort.

For a panoramic view of the place, head on to the observatory deck and be amazed by the bird's eye view from atop the observatory.

6. Nara

Best time to visit: March and April

Dating to over thousands of years, the prefecture of Nara is one of the oldest regions in Japan. Home to more number of UNESCO world heritage sites than any other prefectures in Japan and elevated by enriching temples, gardens, and shrines, Nara is definitely one of the must-visit places in Japan and not to forget the stunning places in Nara camouflaged by cherry blossom trees.

  • Nara Park

PC: fortherock/flickr.com

Set at the foot of the Mount Wakakusa is one of the oldest parks of Nara. Home to 1000's of freely roaming deer, which are by the way considered as the messengers of God, Nara Park is a surprisingly beautiful spot to take a picnic to and immerse in the joy of witnessing the enchanting cherry blossom trees. For a fabulous experience, feed the deer with the deer crackers and try befriending one.

When you have explored Nara Park to the fullest, make sure to check out the nearby attractions of Todai-Ji, Kasuga Shrine, and Kofuku-Ji.

  • Mt.Yoshino

PC:Reginald Pentinio/flickr.com

Placed in the town of Yoshino is the UNESCO world heritage site of Mt.Yoshino, a weekend picnic destination in Nara. Go on a scenic drive along the winding roads to the Mt.Yoshino and on the way through make sure you stop for quick photo sessions. Featuring around 30,000 cherry trees along the slopes of the mountain, the visitors can get the best of the place by taking a trekking expedition to the summit. Interesting in all its way, Mt.Yoshino can be best visited during the season of Spring.

If you are a religious person, you can check out the religious sites of Yoshino Mikumari Shrine, Kimpusen-Ji, and Kinpu Shrine that are en route Mt.Yoshino.

As the season of cherry blossom is only a few weeks away, why not plan a trip right away!

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